2014年12月08日

Reinterpretation of Article 9 and Japan’s Security Destination 2

Abe’s reinterpretation of Article 9

Two decades after the cold war ended and China becomes a major political and military power of the world, the security environment of the Asia-Pacific region is quickly changing. China is showing its muscles in the East China Sea and South China Sea causing territorial disputes with its neighbors. North Korea that has a nuclear missile capability also plays a tricky role, making this region more unstable.

In recent years there has been a movement that pushed the agenda to lift the ban on exercising collective self-defense. This movement was led by the so called “political establishment of Japan” that consists of Abe’s LDP who has controlled most of post World War II Japanese politics, the bureaucrats (who are, for the most part, obedient to the U.S.), and the private sectors that are tied with LDP, including the mainstream medias that act like government billboards rather than that of watchdog. They claim that Japan needs to strengthen the U.S.-Japan alliance in order to enhance defense cooperation and increase the capacity to handle the regional threats or emergency scenario.

As eluded to, on July 1 2014, Abe’s cabinet decided to change the interpretation of Article 9 to end the ban on allowing Japan to exercise the right of collective self-defense.  It was a historic step to shift the nation from the one that does not use the military force on foreign soils to the one does in order to support its ally, even if Japan is not in threat.

What Abe has told the Japanese public is that ensuring a deterrent mechanism through a strong U.S.-Japan alliance is critically important and that Japan cannot afford to have the U.S.-Japan alliance fail in a crisis because overly stringent Japanese interpretations of minimal defense policy that could cause the SDF to withhold necessary military support at a critical juncture or in a crisis.


Exercising the right of collective self defense does not make Japan safer

While Abe’s political rhetoric may sound appealing, exercising collective self-defense could in fact have negative impacts that are actually contrary to what it intend to do for the reasons described herein. 

To start, the Japanese government claims that the conditions that apply to exercise the collective self-defense are very strict and that it is far-fetched to say that the SDF’s role will be fundamentally changed.   The conditions that the government refers to are:

  1. The situation should pose a clear threat to the Japanese state or could fundamentally threaten the Japanese people’s constitutional right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness;

  2. There is no other way to repel the attack and protect Japan and its people; and

  3. The use of force is limited to the minimum necessary.

The condition that “could fundamentally threaten the Japanese people’s constitutional right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” can be widely interpreted to cover a wide range of situations.  For example, one interpretation could stretch to a situation where Japan has no choice but participate in joint military operation with the U.S. even if Japan is not under direct attack for the sole reason that should Japan not cooperate with the U.S., the result would harm the U.S.-Japan relationship, which might not be the best interest of Japan.

In addition, the government’s claim does not thoroughly consider the scenario of what could happen after exercising a particular collective self-defense. Whether or not Japan applies those conditions is not merely a domestic matter but also impact policies throughout the region. Once it exercises collective self defense and use the force, it is an act of war. Once it started, the enemy would retaliate, which would lead to another attack. Thus, as it is often describe as do or die, there may be no stopping point and the words “minimum necessary” that is written in the condition would be meaningless. Who decides what is necessary when Japan exercises collective defense for the sake of an ally?

Another unintended impact of reinterpretation of Article 9 is that it will weaken the relationship with Asian nations, especially China and Korea. The “historical issues” in which Japan had victimized these countries during the war is Japan’s Achilles heel as both China and Korea use these issues as political tools to control diplomacies with Japan. The politically incorrect recollection of history by a contingent of Japanese politicians coupled with their insensitive comments have aggravated the feeling of average Chinese and Korean people toward Japan, resulting in anti-Japanese protests and serious trade disruptions. 

In past few years, the territorial disputes over Senkaku-island have farther jeopardized diplomatic relationship between Japan and China. Exercising collective self-defense will not only further harm the relationship with neighboring countries but also can increase the risk of accidental collisions in territorial water that might ultimately lead to the use of force.


Continue to read Understanding the U.S. Strategy for Asia-Pacific Region



posted by Oceanlove at 18:15| 日本の政治 | このブログの読者になる | 更新情報をチェックする
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